It’s time for one of my favorite posts of the year: my annual favorite contemporary romance list! Whether you’ve been following me for a short time or my near five (!!!) years of blogging (my five year anniversary of Fangirl Fury is in February!), you know that I am a huge contemporary reader, with most of my focus on contemporary romance. Today I’m going to be sharing my FAVORITE contemporary romance reads of the year and my honorable mentions. There’s a chance I may do some re-reading this month to decide my #1 pick, but you’ll find out below which two books were my absolute favorites – instead of building anticipation, I decided to just list them at the top!
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
The Love Hypothesis completely blew up and is still deservedly doing so and the hype is 110% worth the hype. As a Star Wars fan, I loved the Kylo Ren & Rey inspiration (look at the cover alone!) and this book nailed every single element. I loved the academic premise and slight enemies-to-lovers trope.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Yes, Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation is tied with The Love Hypothesis as my FAVORITE book of 2021. There’s something that just clicks with me and Emily Henry’s writing style right from the get-go that makes me know that I’m going to love the book. I don’t read too many best friends-to-lovers romances. Poppy and Alex’s dynamic was so pure and funny, and I love the story-telling, alternating between their current vacation gone-wrong and their past trips together. And I’ve heard from early reviewers & Taylor Jenkins Reid’s advance blurb that Emily Henry’s 2022 release, Book Lovers, is her best yet.
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rachel Lynn Solomon is a favorite YA contemporary author of mine AND now favorite contemporary romance author, based on The Ex Talk alone. The radio meets enemies-to-lovers premise was so unique.
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Second First Impressions was one of those book that snuck up on me and unexpectedly became a favorite. I know that The Hating Game is everyone’s favorite Sally Thorne read, but I think Second First Impressions is her absolute best!!
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
Yes, I will 110% admit that The Intimacy Experiment is better than The Roommate. I absolutely LOVED the premise – the CEO of a sex education company teams up with a young rabbi to help their company and synagogue respectively. The book was such a perfect blend of a relationship AND character driven story.
Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher
I went into Meet Me in Paradise expectating a fluff-ish beach or vacation read, but instead received such an emotional story about two sisters, their grief, and making the most out of life. I loved the setting, focus on family, and relationship development when it came to the romance.
The Matzah Ball by Jean Metlzer
I’ve read a few holiday books this year, and Jean Meltzer’s Hanukkah-inspired contemporary romance is the best holiday book I’ve read this year! There’s definitely some Christmas involved, as one of the main protagonist, Rachel, is known for her best-selling Christmas romances, but is challenged by her publisher to finally write a Hanukkah romance based on her Jewish identity. The book has great Jewish and disability representation, and as common with my favorites, it’s enemies-to-lovers!
Float Plan by Trish Doller
Float Plan was another light meets emotionally-heavy read, as the main protagonist decides to go on a sailing trip planned by her recently passed fiancé, with the help of an Irish sailor.
Isn’t It Bromantic? (Bromance Book Club #4) by Lyssa Kay Adams
I love, LOVE Lyssa Kay Adam’s Bromance Book Club series & we finally got the installment we’d all been waiting for in 2021, Isn’t It Bromantic?, following Vlad/The Russian. I loved getting to finally know more about him and his love life.
While We Were Dating (The Wedding Date #6)by Jasmine Guillory
I’m convinced that Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date series gets better & better with each book, including the latest installment, While We Were Dating . I don’t read too many books with the famous person dating trope, and this one was so fun!
The Kindred Spirits Supper Club by Amy E. Reichert
If there’s one book on this list that I wish got more hype & praise, it’s Amy E. Reichert’s The Kindred Spirits Supper Club – if you love cozy, small-town vibes (& maybe a character or two that can see ghosts, pick this one up!).
If The Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
I know fairy-tale retellings aren’t exactly new to the contemporary or contemporary romance game, but I was absolutely addicted to July Murphy’s Cinderella retelling meets Bachelor book, If The Shoe Fits.
The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle
Shipped by Angie Hockman
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark
To Sir With Love by Lauren Layne
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss
The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
You can also check out my favorite contemporary romances of 2020.
What were some of your favorite contemporary romance books this year? Have you read any of my favorites? Any recommendations for me? Share in the comments!